One of the last things Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye did before his death was send a letter to Gov. Neil Abercrombee asking that Rep. Colleen Hanabusa be appointed to his seat.
If she's appointed to fill Inouye’s seat, it will open a House seat Democrats fear could be won by a Republican because of the lack of a primary in a special election there, reported The Hill.
Although Abercrombie said a Inouye was “lucid and available to us right up until the very last minute,” the Democratic Party said it was assembling a list of possible successors and not automatically appointing Hanabusa.
Hawaii Democratic Chairman Dante Carpenter the party will consider any of the 50,000 registered Democrats in Hawaii who applies, including the “custodian of the high school.”
“The Democratic Party doesn’t have any favorites at this time,” Carpenter said. “We don’t go into this with any preconceived notions.”
There is concern in the party that if Hanabusa is appointed, the risk of retaining her House district is questionable.
Hawaiian special elections are winner-take-all, according to the Hill, which means that if several Democrats run in the election - which is possible without a primary - it could split the vote, giving an upper hand to a Republican nominee.
“What makes it in play are the rules,” Democratic consultant Ed Espinoza told CQ Roll Call. “When you have a special election format with no primary and no runoff, there’s more risk for the party that has more candidates. And for Hawaii, that’s always going to be Democrats.”
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